Japanese GP pole position press conference

1995 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMNPIONSHIP Race No.16 GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN -- SUZUKA, JAPAN OCTOBER 27-29, 1995 EXCERPTS FROM FIA FINAL QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE (10/28/95) Present were: 1.Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault ...

1995 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMNPIONSHIP Race No.16 GRAND PRIX OF JAPAN -- SUZUKA, JAPAN OCTOBER 27-29, 1995

EXCERPTS FROM FIA FINAL QUALIFYING PRESS CONFERENCE (10/28/95)

Present were:

  1.Michael Schumacher     Benetton-Renault      1:38.023
  2.Jean Alesi             Ferrari               1:38.888
  3.Mika Hakkinen          McLaren-Peugeot       1:38.954

Q. Michael, congratulations on your first pole since Canada. Last week you said you were superstitious about being on pole. How worried are you about tomorrow?

SCHUMACHER: Mmmm, yes. There are superstitious (thoughts) in the back of my mind, but I don't think it will come up, because when I look back, I have always been in second or third position before winning most of my races this year. The main challenge here is going to come from the Williams cars, which are in fourth and sixth places on the grid. Our situation therefore looks extremely good. But it is surprising to see such a gap between us, and still makes me feel uncomfortable.

Q. Was your car perfect today, then?

SCHUMACHER: I rarely had a car which was perfect. You can always improve the car, but in the circumstances, the car is in quite good condition, through all the various types of corner here. Now we have to find the right strategy for tomorrow. As I said, though, with the gap that we have at the moment, we can be confident for the race.

Q. Michael, despite securing the title, you seem more motivated, more determined than ever. How do you find this power, because you could take it easy?

SCHUMACHER: Since I have been racing, I never really took it easy. If I go out in a racing car, I always give 100 percent. Even though I wasn't that keen to go out this afternoon, because I didn't see anyone going to beat the time of yesterday. So I thought, No, just stay in and see what happens, but as Jean went on, they told me he is going to be very quick, and they sent me out. I didn't know what he did, so I pushed very hard to maintain pole position, which worked out. But I don't need any special motivation, or any special situation to perform well.

Q. Jean, you must be delighted with second place. Was it a surprise for you?

ALESI: Not really, because at Aida, my car was working very well, and on a circuit like this one, the engine is so important. We knew we would come here with a good one, and after the first session, I was quite optimistic, of course.

Q. This morning, you said you were not too happy with the overall feel of the car.

ALESI: Yes, with full tanks, I didn't feel the car was handling very well, especially the front, which felt very strange. It didn't feel like a problem with the setup, so I asked the team to check what was wrong. They didn't find anything.

Yesterday morning, I had a very bad experience when I went off, and when I stopped there was something broken on the car. But I really don't know what the exact problem was. Nobody said anything clear to me about it. I don't want to say whether something broke before, but I don't want to say it broke after.... Especially because it happened many times and very often, I want to understand what had gone wrong on the car before I went out again. When you start the session, and you feel that something isn't right, even if it is just a fly in your visor, you are shocked. I was not very happy this morning about driving the car. I was very nervous.

Q. Mika, well done on being third. I am sure that you would prefer to have been on pole...

HAKKINEN: I am very happy to be in the top three, because it is a long time since I was in this situation. The car has improved since the Nurburgring and the engine has improved since Aida. We have found some very good setups which have performed better and become easier to drive. I am feeling good, too, after the appendix operation.

Q. You even seem refreshed after your spell in hospital.

HAKKINEN: It was good to be out anyway, and I don't think it has affected my performance. I think that it was probably good to have a few weeks out of motor racing. But the main reasons for the improvement in performance is because the engineers have made a step forward, and Mario Illien has improved the power of the engine for this particular race. Putting all these things together gives you the reason why we are faster. The engine has a little more power, but it is the driveability (torque) which is really better. We are still lacking in some areas, and we will have to work on this during the winter. This year has been very disappointing for me and for the team, which is why I am already concentrating on next year, to develop the car and engine.

Q. Have you had any pain here from the operation?

HAKKINEN: No, not really. It's two weeks ago now, and the operation is not much. These days, it takes only 30 minutes. It healed very quickly. I was in hospital on Saturday the 14th, on Monday I was back at home, and by Wednesday I was able to start doing some exercises, starting with running on the Friday and getting back to fitness again. It wasn't a big deal, just a cut in the skin which can be painful, like any type of cut. The way they operated, they didn't cut into my stomach muscles or anything.

Data courtesy Marlboro Sports Data System Edited by Robert Heathcote for SpeedNet

..Email: HeathcoteR@aol.com...................Email: SpeedNet@aol.com.. ..Los Angeles, California................AUTOSPORTS BBS..310-641-9627.. ..Opinions are mine -- Not yours -- And surely not those of SpeedNet!..

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Jean Alesi , Mika Hakkinen
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Benetton